Ways to get and cultivate higher value donors

It’s possible that the most important thing you can do is to shift your approach to the donors you get and cultivate, seeking fewer donors of higher values.

It’s a smarter way to raise funds for most organizations (but not all).

The Direct To Donor blog has some tactics that can help you make that change, at Implications of more donors versus better donors:

  • Up your ask strings. (Ask for more. You’ll often get more from each donor.)
  • Change your defaults. (Make the default ask amount on your web giving forms higher.)
  • Move up your list selects. (Rent higher value lists.)
  • Work with your modeling agencies and coops.
  • Invest in telemarketing upgrades.
  • Shift your lapsed reacquisition selects. (Work more to reactivate higher-value lapsed donors.)
  • Use ZIP modeling. (Where do you high-value donors live? Look for new donors there.)
  • Invest in your second gift apparatus.

These aren’t slam-dunk winning tactics for everyone, but all are worth testing.

Shifting your approach from high-volume/low-value to high-value/low-volume can transform your fundraising program. Look into it.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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About the blogger

Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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